3 Essential Virtual Career Fair Tips from Employers

Read these employer tips before your next virtual recruitment event.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Virtual career fairs on Handshake are one of the best ways for you to connect with employers that want to hire you. You can sign up early for DePaul’s Winter Career Fair to attend sessions with the employers you’re interested in, to learn about jobs and internships for students like you at your school. Group and one-on-one sessions will help you get an inside look at employers and find companies you’d like to work for.

But what are employers looking for during these sessions, and how can you stand out from the crowd? Here are three tips from employers that will help you impress them and get on their list of potential job candidates.

Be prepared and curious

Once you’ve filled up your schedule of virtual sessions, it’s important to research the employers you’ll be meeting with. Start by reading through their page on Handshake to get an overview of the organization and read student reviews. Then you can expand your research by looking at their company website, and doing a quick online search for recent news articles, press releases and other information. 

Have a short list of questions ready to ask employers during your sessions. What do you want to learn more about? What questions will help you decide if the company is a good fit for you? You can ask about company culture, professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, and more.

Make sure to check out the open jobs and internships on the employer’s Handshake page. They are looking for students to hire at virtual career fairs, so chances are they’ll want to discuss current opportunities with you during the session. 

Arrive on time and stick around

The easiest way to make a great first impression with employers is to be on time for your sessions. You can enter a video session five minutes before the session begins. It’s a good idea to set phone alerts or calendar reminders for your sessions, to ensure you’re logged into Handshake and ready to go.

It’s also really important that you stay for the entire session. If you have a one-on-one session with an employer, you wouldn’t dream of logging out early, right? Well, the same goes for any group session you’re attending.

Maybe the session isn’t quite what you thought you were signing up for, or all of your questions were answered early. Doesn’t matter—just like you, employers have busy schedules and their time is valuable. Being on time and staying until the end of a session demonstrates that you’re responsible and respectful.

Get ready to hit send on your follow-up

Prepare a draft of your follow-up message to an employer before you attend their session. That way, you’ll be a step ahead once the session is over. Start by thanking the employer ambassador for their time and for sharing information about the organization. Then, include something specific you enjoyed discussing or learning about, and reiterate your interest in the company. Finally, indicate that you’re taking next steps such as applying for an open job. 

If you have drafts ready before the fair, you can quickly edit and send them after your sessions—and be one of the first students to follow up. This will definitely help you stand out to employers!

Want more useful tips? Check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

Attending The Winter Virtual Career Fair? Here Are 10 Tips You Need to Know

Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will give you an edge in landing that next job or internship. Employers who attend the fair want to hire DePaul students—and they’ll host virtual sessions to find the students they want to interview. With our virtual Winter Career Fair 2021 on the horizon (Feb 24), here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during and after the virtual fair.

Preparing for a virtual fair

1. Update your Handshake profile. The first step in preparing for virtual fairs is to make sure your Handshake profile is complete and up-to-date. Your Handshake profile helps you get personalized recommendations for upcoming virtual events. Plus, employers use profile fields to find students to invite to their sessions. Don’t let an incomplete or out-of-date profile keep you from getting discovered by recruiters.

  • Check that the basics are accurate: graduation date, school year, major, GPA and work authorization
  • Select the job types, locations and roles that interest you, so recruiters know which jobs and internships are a good fit for you.
  • Add your courses, skills, and any previous work experience.

2. Find out which employers are attending. View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions. From there, you can click through to each employer’s Handshake page to learn more about them and read reviews from other students. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like so you’re guaranteed a spot.

3. Research the employers you’ll meet. When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their Handshake profile. Check out their company website and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions, and make conversation during one-on-one sessions you may have.

4. Prepare a few talking points. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of an “elevator pitch” about yourself—a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.

On the day of the virtual fair

5. Dress professionally. Even though you won’t be meeting employers in person, you’ll want to ditch the sweats for the career fair. Dressing up a bit will make a good first impression with recruiters and employees. Plus, wearing your favorite polished outfit will help boost your confidence in time for the event! 

6. Find a quiet spot and a neutral background. Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s quiet and there is a plain background behind you. Keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you. 

During your virtual sessions

7. Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the recruiter or employee ambassador that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.

8. Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.

9. Ask questions. Bring a list of prepared questions for each session. Having several questions ready will help you in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.

The day after the fair

10. View and apply to open jobs or internships. Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake to see current jobs and internships. Recruiters are logging into Handshake daily to find students for open jobs—so it’s the best place to apply! If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Find tips for applying to jobs on Handshake here.

Finding a Job on Handshake: FAQs

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Do you have questions about how to find a job or internship on Handshake? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled answers to the most common questions from college students.

1. Why should I make a Handshake account if I already use other job sites?

Handshake is the only place that connects you, your school, and employers together. All of the jobs on Handshake are meant for students—in fact, Handshake has the most opportunities for students and new college grads of any job platform. It’s also the only place where employers are recruiting specifically at your school.

2. Why do I need to fill out my Handshake profile?

Your profile is the key to finding a job or internship on Handshake. When you fill out your profile:

  • Handshake gives you personalized job recommendations based on the information you provide on your profile—so you can find jobs and internships that are right for you.
  • You increase your chances of having a recruiter message you directly with job opportunities and event invitations. In fact, 80% of students who fill out their profile receive a message from a recruiter.

3. Which parts of my Handshake profile are most important to include?

In addition to your major, Handshake also uses your job interests to recommend opportunities to you. Your job interests include:

  • Job type: select part-time job, full-time job, or internship.
  • Job location: choose the cities that you’d like to live and work in.
  • Job roles: select at least three positions that interest you.

TIP: You can change and update your interests at any time.

4. What are the top things employers search for?

After job interests, these are the most popular fields that employers use to find students they’d like to message:

  • Work experience: Have you had a part-time job, internship, work study, research position or volunteered? Employers like to see that you’ve taken on responsibility, and that these experiences have helped you develop valuable skills.
  • Skills: Add technical skills like SQL and soft skills like communication. The more skills you list, the better your chances are of showing up in an employer search.
  • Clubs and organizations: These highlight your unique interests and involvement on campus.

5. Why should I make my profile public? 

Employers are able to find and view your profile only when you make it visible to them. So help employers find you! Make it public so you’ll show up when they’re searching for students to recruit for jobs and internships. You can also make your profile visible to other students, so you can connect with them for advice, or help them.

Don’t worry—your profile will not be public to employers that have not been approved by your school, or to anyone without a Handshake account.

6. Can I use Handshake on my phone? 

Yes! Download the Handshake App from the App Store or Google Play, to search and apply to jobs right from your phone. You’ll also be notified when you receive a message from an employer, be first to see new job postings, and can apply to jobs in two clicks with Quick Apply.

7. What is the best way to use keyword search and filters?

Keyword search and filters are a great way to narrow down and customize the jobs you see on Handshake. You can filter through jobs by criteria such as job type, location, work authorization, and industry. Keyword search helps you find jobs whose description includes a word that you’re looking for. For example, if you search for the keyword “accounting,” you will see jobs where the word accounting appears within the posting.

TIP: Save your searches to quickly access a set of filters you’ve used in the past.

8. Why should I contact other students on Handshake?

When you view a job or employer page, you can see other students who have worked there and reach out to them with your questions. You can get an inside look at company culture, interview tips, and more through company reviews. You can also find answers to common career questions (or ask your own!) in Q&A.

TIP: You can also search for students based on their major, work experiences, and more.

The 3 Must-Haves on Your Handshake Profile

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team


Want to quickly and easily increase your chances of finding the job you want on Handshake? Add your job interests to your profile.

When you fill in your interests, two really great things happen:

  1. Handshake sends you better, more relevant job recommendations.
  2. You’re more likely to have a recruiter message you! 80% of students who share their interests on Handshake receive a message from a recruiter. The more you include, the better your chances of having a recruiter find you.

That’s a pretty big return on not a lot of work. And the best part is—filling out your interests is as easy as sharing your opinion with us. Who knows what you like and don’t like better than you?

What are your job interests?

The “Your Interests” section of your Handshake profile includes:

  • Job type
  • Location
  • Job role

These are the most common fields that employers use to search for potential candidates—so including them in your profile is essential to getting recruited.

What are you looking for?

  • Job type: select part-time job, full-time job, or internship. Looking for a part-time job for now and an internship for next summer? You can select more than one job type, and we’ll share recommendations for each.
  • Job location: choose the cities that you’d like to live and work in. There are thousands of incredible employers on Handshake from every corner of the country, so we recommend being open to exploring jobs in a few different locations.
  • Job roles: select at least three job roles that interest you. We’ll give you suggestions based on your major, school and city. You can also search our job role pages to learn more about what you’d like to do.

You may be thinking “What if I don’t know what I’m looking for?” That’s ok. We’ll give you some suggestions. And, like the rest of your profile information, you can always change your interests later.

Handshake helped me get two jobs so far. Unlike other sites where I have to dig through and filter out jobs, Handshake has jobs organized and sorted for you. It saves time and gives me a better understanding of the job I’m looking for.

– Neha

Your Handshake profile is the key to finding jobs and internships that are right for you, and getting recruited by the employers you want to work for.

Ready to find the right job or internship for you? Log in to Handshake and fill in your interests today!

5 Easy Resolutions To Help You Get a Job or Internship This Year

Learn the path to getting hired on Handshake in 2021.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

New year, fresh start! If your resolution is to land a great job or internship, now is the perfect time to take action. And unlike some lofty goals that may fizzle by February, there are simple steps you can take now to see real results in your job search. 

Here is your five step plan to fulfilling your job resolution in Handshake.

5 resolutions to get hired in 2021

The Job Search Myths That Could Keep You From Getting Hired on Handshake

We’re setting the record straight to help you get the job you want.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Handshake is here to help DePaul University students and graduates find great jobs and internships. And we want to clear a few things up! So we’ve collected some common misconceptions about your profile, employer events, applications, and more. Read below to learn the truth about your job search and how to really find the right job for you on Handshake.

It’s not that important to update my Handshake profile, because employers don’t look at it.

Completing and updating your profile may just be the most important thing you can do on Handshake to get hired! Employers who are hiring at your school are searching for candidates based on the information on their profiles: the roles they’re looking for, the cities they want to work in, the skills they have, etc. So it’s extremely important that you fill out all of your interests and experiences in your profile. This will help recruiters find you for the jobs that match what you’re looking for.

I can’t apply for a job if I don’t match the employer’s preferences.

When posting a job or internship, employers may select “preferences” or qualifications that they’re looking for in potential candidates. These preferences, like major, GPA or school year, will show up when you click on the details of a job posting, and Handshake will tell you which preferences match your profile. Think of them as a guide that can help you understand if you’re a good match for the job. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t apply for the job if you don’t match all of the preferences. If you’re interested in the job, you can definitely still apply. If there are other required documents, like a cover letter, as part of the application, that is where you can shine and tell the employer why you think you’re a great candidate.

It’s better to apply for a job on an employer’s website, instead of applying on Handshake.

While some job postings may take you to an external application, you can apply for many jobs right on Handshake in a few clicks. And rest assured that if an employer accepts applications on Handshake, recruiters are actively viewing those applications. But don’t take our word for it, check out just a few of the success stories from students who have been hired!

I don’t think the top employers are recruiting students in my major or at my school.

The main goal of Handshake is to connect students to the right job opportunities, no matter who they are or where they go to school. And that’s exactly why more than 500,000 incredible employers are hiring here—they can recruit from any corner of the country without leaving the office. 

And since Handshake is connected to DePaul University’s Career Center, all of the jobs you see are meant for DePaul students and graduates.

I’m in my first year of school, so I don’t need Handshake yet.

Even if you’re just starting out and not sure what you want to do yet, you can learn a lot about careers and employers on Handshake. You can find part-time and on-campus jobs, explore careers that students at your school and in your major pursue, read employer and internship reviews from other students and recent grads, and much more. Plus, it’s never too early to start looking for your first internship! There are opportunities for every student no matter your school year. 

If you’re a recent grad and don’t have your @depaul.edu email address, you can use a personal or generic email address to sign up for Handshake. After you sign up, someone from DePaul University Career Center will approve your account to get you set up. 

You can’t really make a connection with employers at virtual recruiting events.

Employers are changing the way they’re hiring students. Recruiting is now nearly all virtual, so virtual recruiting events are an essential way to learn about who’s hiring at your school and connect with companies that will want to hire you.

A major benefit of attending virtual events is that you don’t have to wait in line for a chance to talk to popular employers. When you register for a virtual recruiting event on Handshake, you sign up for session times with the employers you want to meet. These sessions will help you make a personal connection with employer ambassadors and learn about current job and internship opportunities.

There isn’t an easy way to share my resume with the employers I meet at virtual recruiting events.

Once you’ve created your resume, you can easily share your resume with employers by uploading it to your Handshake profile and making it visible. If you’ve previously uploaded your resume, double check that it’s marked as visible so that employers can view it. After you attend a virtual career fair, employers will have access to your resume when they download a list of participants from their sessions. 

Learn how to check your resume’s visibility.

Log into depaul.joinhandshake.com to put this new knowledge into practice and refresh your job search!